Title: A Summer's Song
Author: ArtemisEmerald aka mneme2434
Disclaimer: …Please, like I'm making money off this.
Final Word Count: 17,710
Rating: PG-13/low R
Characters/Pairings: Steve/Danny, Grace, Rachel, Chin, Kono

Summary: Steve thought he was pretty content with the way his life was heading, until Catherine showed up on his doorstep with a surprise he never expected. The surprise leads to unexpected revelations between him and Danny, and the future starts to look even more promising. That is, until one person decides a little revenge against Steve is in order and causes Steve to question whether he made the right choices.

A/N: So this is a big whopping A/U that veers off at the end of season one and totally ignores Jenna. She just wouldn't work with me. Also, I like how sassy Rachel is so I decided to forgo any sort of bashing in this. Oh and this was written for the 2011 Hawaii 5-0 bigbang.

A/N 2: Title was originally Autumn's Lullaby. I changed it for a couple of reasons. One, I have a planned story arc for this that I will eventually get around to writing. Four stories in total. Two, and this is one that I'm surprised no one mentioned to be honest, the story takes place in the summer…thus the new title.

Chapter one

Steve unlocked the front door and nearly fell into the house from the exhaustion that was slowly engulfing him. The case he and the team had been working had been long, tedious, and at times nightmare inducing but they had finally solved it that afternoon. Usually, solving such a big case would lead to drinks out to celebrate the wrap up, but this one had been too long and too rough. All four of them agreed unanimously to go their separate ways to unwind.

He knew, of course, where each of his team members had ended up. Steve smiled slightly to himself as he made his way into the kitchen. Chin went home to his bike and a long, solitary, ride up in the mountains. Kono was off to the beach to take her anguish out on the waves, and Danny…Danny went home to spend an hour on the phone with Grace.

Steve pulled a beer from the fridge and popped the top, glancing at the clock as he did so. It was nearing Grace's bedtime and he had to admit, he really wanted to hear Danny's voice just one more time before he succumbed to the sleep that was slowly tugging at him. If he waited another ten minutes, Danny would no longer be talking to his daughter.

He sighed and took a swig of the rapidly warming beer in his hands before turning and heading out back, bypassing the phone completely. He dropped onto a lounge chair and stared out at the ocean, wondering how his life had gotten to this point. The point being, that is, that he needed to hear a familiar jersey accent to help him calm down and relax.

It's not like he often hit the point where he needed Danny to blather on about something in order to unwind. In fact, Steve felt fairly content with the way his life was right now and he rarely let himself get that high strung on principle. He loved his place with five-o, loved that he could still get the adrenalin rushes that had been common place during his time as a SEAL but without the worry of where he was going next or which of his comrades was going to drop next to him from either enemy or friendly fire. Sure, he still had teammates to worry about, but it seemed easier when it was just the four of them and they always had a vague idea about the situation they were heading into.

He also loved his teammates. The four of them had quickly become as close as family, once the rough edges of their personalities smoothed to fit each other. Chin was no longer so protective of Kono, Danny was opening up to them more without all the yelling and Kono was fast becoming a very good officer and someone they could all trust to watch their backs without worry.

There were downsides, of course. His dad's murder, his mom's case…Hesse, the fucker. Those were all still there at the back of his mind, waiting to push out at the most inopportune time. He still felt an overwhelming sense of guilt at times about Mary and having to force her back off the island to keep her safe.

The good always seemed to outweigh the bad, though, even when cases like the one they just finished cropped up. Too many kids dead because of an asshole with a problem, too many parents grieving over what their child had become. Steve tossed back the rest of the beer and tried to force his thoughts towards more pleasant things.

He glanced over his shoulder at the backdoor. He still would have liked to hear Danny's voice, but now….he was too damned comfortable to get up, even if he was feeling a little whimsical. He snorted to himself. Whimsical. That would be one of Danny's words, one of the big ones he liked to throw around just to get a reaction out of the rest of them.

Steve grinned and went to take another drink of his beer. He had it halfway up to his mouth before he remembered that he had finished it off. Sadly, that's what thinking about Danny did to him. It made him forget things. Steve wasn't an idiot. He knew it for what it was. He had fallen in love with his irascible partner. The thing that always got Steve was that he could never recall just when he had fallen.

He remembered with perfect clarity when he first realized and admitted to himself about his feelings, but the fall had been so gradual that it had literally snuck up on him. The realization, however, had come just after the president had signed the repeal for DADT and he had felt free enough to realize just what it was that he was feeling. Since he was never one to hide from himself, the admittance came at the same time. That was also when he had finally broken things off with Catherine.

The last time he had slept with her, at the end of January, he had felt like he was cheating on Danny or something. It probably would have led to an awkward morning after if they hadn't had the fake tsunami warning. They had then had a long talk after the case had been solved and thankfully Catherine had understood.

He just couldn't bring himself to tell Danny. He didn't consider himself a coward in the least, but even the thought of putting his feelings out there left an ache in his chest at the vulnerability of it. It didn't help either that Danny was not only his best friend but also more than likely straight. He knew, thanks to some past cases, that Danny was in no way homophobic but that didn't help the worry that his admission would strain their current relationship in some way. The strain would most likely be due from the heartache on Steve's end and the guilt on Danny's. And Danny would feel guilt over not being able to return Steve's feelings. That's just the way Danny was.

So, Steve was okay with the status quo for the moment. That could change if Danny started actively seeing someone instead of the normal flirting with no follow through, but until that happened, Steve could handle the unrequited aspect of his feelings.

Steve hadn't a clue as to how long he had been sitting out on the lanai, but the grandfather clock that only chimed in the late hours of the night told him with deep clangs that he had brooded long enough. He stood up and stretched before heading inside. After throwing away the beer bottle, he locked up the house and went upstairs.

He didn't bother to set his alarm clock and decided that for once, he was going to push off his morning swim and just sleep in. He used the bathroom and changed before all but dropping onto the bed. He was asleep within minutes.